New temporary procedure introduced to replace Irish Citizenship ceremonies

The Minister for Justice Helen McEntee has formally introduced a new temporary procedure to replace physical citizenship ceremonies during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was previously announced in October 2020 however it took almost three months to finalise in circumstances where its introduction required a statutory amendment.

Ordinarily when a person is being granted a Certificate of Irish Naturalisation, they are invited to attend a large-scale ceremony where they will be awarded their Irish Citizenship Certificate and consequently become Irish citizens from that moment.  Unfortunately, apart from one small remote ceremony in July 2020 where 21 applicants were granted their citizenship, there have been no citizenship grants since March 2020. Approximately 4,000 applicants whom the Minister has deemed to be suitable candidates to grant a Certificate of Naturalisation have been waiting in limbo for many months for information as to how and when they will finally be granted their Irish citizenship. It has been a difficult and frustrating period for many applicants and today’s announcement is long overdue.

As of Monday, 18 January 2021 a new system has temporarily been introduced to replace the citizenship ceremonies.  Applicants whom the Minister deemed suitable candidates to grant a Certificate of Naturalisation previously will be contacted by the Citizenship Division over the coming months.  They will be asked to complete a Statutory Declaration which will be sent to them via email from the Citizenship Division.  They will then need to take the Statutory Declaration to an appropriate witness who is listed as a Notary Public, Commissioner for Oaths, Solicitor, or a Peace Commissioner and sign the Statutory Declaration in their presence.  Once the Declaration has been completed the Applicant will then be required to return it to the Citizenship Division on or before 30 May 2021.  The Department of Justice have indicated that it will take up to six weeks from receipt of the required documentation to issue a Certificate of Naturalisation.

The Immigration Team at Sinnott Solicitors located in Cork and Dublin are delighted to finally see some movement in the granting of Citizenship Certificates in circumstances where we have many clients who have been waiting in an absolute limbo situation since last March to become Irish citizens.  Many applicants have already submitted their required bank draft in the sum of €950, passport photographs and their original Irish Registration Permit and we would expect that the Citizenship Division will contact all applicants in a timely and expeditious manner rather than leaving people to wait for a further unknown period of time for the email to arrive to their inbox.

We would also expect that the new procedure will allow the Minister to finalise many other outstanding cases and approve the thousands of applications which are waiting to be finalised.  We have numerous clients whom the Department of Justice have indicated that their cases are in the final stages of processing and we would hope that such applications will now be expedited and included under this new procedure.

As a registered solicitors practice, Sinnott Solicitors have a number of practising solicitors in our offices in Cork and Dublin who are authorised to take and receive Statutory Declarations and can act as witnesses in the swearing of Statutory Declarations, even where the applicant is not a client of Sinnott Solicitors – so if you require any information on your citizenship application or a witness to sign your Statutory Declaration, do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Department today on and our team in Cork and Dublin will be happy to assist.